2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Certainly dark and creepy - also slow, contrived and overworked,
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This review is from: Naomi's Room (Kindle Edition)
What a confusing novel. Some parts are superbly creepy and original but; when the plot moves into 'the attic' it falls into little more than cliche, the pitfall of many horror writers, and remains there far too long.
It's true to say the opening chapters are extremely good. I was hooked by the particularly dark themes and gory discoveries. Unfortunately, Aycliffe expands the plot too far taking his reader on a whirlwind trip from the traditional tale of a haunted house through to themes of Jack the Ripper, the history of the Huguenots, the philosophy of The Rosecrutionist's and scenes of modern torture. There's just too much going on and the strings holding all of that complexity together can be incredibly weak.
Aycliffe creates good tension when exploring the aftermath of the disappearance of a child. Those areas in which he reveals how a golden couple fall from the height of their comfortable, safe existence of academia, music and travel through to total destruction are harrowing and very, very believable. I was surprised at how far he took some of those themes and, later in the novel, expands them to include visceral scenes of abuse and torture. Those scenes are so far from the core of the plot they jar against it and appear to have been added just for effect.
It's not all bad, though chunks of it certainly are, and Aycliffe rescues his novel time and again with his excellent characterisation. He really is good at 'people' to the point I was genuinely moved at the plight of Naomi's parents. My only negative in that respect would have to be the absolute concentration on the father. After a while the endless view of what was going on inside the confines of his head began to irritate.
I loved the idea behind this story. A mix of dreadful ghouls, abduction, murder, madness and the slow uncovering of the real history of the house seemed too good to be true. At times Naomi's Room gave exactly what it promised and was both hugely entertaining and creepy. Unfortunately, I found myself endlessly irritated by the overly complex vocabulary, huge leaps away from the central plot and the use of completely random links to carry the story forward.
Overall Naomi's Room is worth a read. If you're a fan of the supernatural and read a lot of horror you might find yourself underwhelmed. In it's favour are the wide variety of twists and turns and the discovery of what really happened to Naomi.